Australian regulator takes legal action against Ford's Australian unit

July 26 (Reuters) - The Australian consumer watchdog said on Wednesday it has started court proceedings against Ford Motor Co's local unit, accusing the company of engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct when responding to customer complaints.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said in a statement that Ford had refused to provide a refund or replacement vehicle to customers affected by transmission performance.

The complaints concern three of Ford's smaller vehicles - the Focus, Fiesta and EcoSport vehicles.

Ford said in a statement on Wednesday that it rejected the allegations and would be challenging the ACCC's claims. (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Jonathan Barrett and Edwina Gibbs)